How would you 'can' food at home? I've been wondering about doing that on my own but would rather have instructions to prevent possible waste.
When we suggest that you "can" food at home, this can mean two things. Sometimes you can "bottle" food using a pressure cooker or a hot water bath, and we call that canning as well. Other times, you need to "can" food using actual cans - usually #10 cans. For this, you need to borrow a canner or visit your local cannery. Many stakes have canners that get passed around among the members, so ask your Relief Society President if your stake has some. If not, ask about times when you can visit your local cannery. Many times you can just bring your own food to can and they will have the right tools there to help you out. You will have to pay for the cans and lids, but they are not expensive (42 cents per can).
If you don't have time to go to the cannery, or if you don't live near one, we suggest just buying the food already canned up (LDS Catalog is one option for this).
I have a 4 year old who is a very picky eater. He doesn't like granola bars or nutrigrain bars, what would you suggest I keep in a car kit that he would want to eat, but wouldn't melt during the summer?
Consider storing crackers or other dry snacks that won't melt. Goldfish are a favorite of my family. There are many possibilities.
Do you get a soft loaf with hard red wheat using your technique? I have never been successful using red wheat alone. I must mix the red wheat with white and other grains to get a tolerable loaf.
This may not be common knowledge for all, I know I was clueless when I entered the world of wheat, but there are many types of wheat you can buy. We buy 2 kinds: hard red wheat and hard white wheat. I'm not sure what the exact differences are but I have noticed that white wheat is, well, whiter. Imagine that.
This question was in response to this post where we made Soda Bread with whole wheat flour. If you'll notice from the picture, I actually used store bought wheat flour which is heavily processed to be more palatable.
With my food storage bread, Anna uses a combination of hard white and hard red (mostly hard white). I buy my wheat for everyday use in a bulk 25 lb sack, one at a time (separate from my long term storage), and I buy whatever the cannery has available. Lately that's been hard red wheat and so I use just hard red wheat to make my bread. Does this make it hard or intolerable? Not at all. In fact if I didn't know that I had only used hard red wheat, I wouldn't be able to tell. I think this is from the dough enhancer which makes the bread softer, especially on the inside.
So in the case of the soda bread, if you were using hard red wheat, just add a couple tablespoons of the dough enhancer. Homemade bread is quite different from store bought bread, especially store bought white bread, so when you start out introducing wheat to your family, it might be smart to start with the hard white wheat, or a mixture of the two. Our family has been eating wheat for several years, so we don't really notice a difference between the two. In fact I had to go back and look at pictures to see when we had hard white and when we had hard red. Despite the bad lighting...
Hard white wheat,
Hard red wheat.
I am confused about the longer-term storage. How much wheat/beans/rice/oats do I need? And do I need to buy it all in one month?
The longer-term storage can be a challenge. At the beginning of each month, when we first assign the "new" item for you to get, we'll tell you exactly how much you will want to have eventually (we'll probably refer you to a food storage calculator, and you can plug in number of family members, etc). Each month, make a personal goal for how much you will buy that month. Many people cannot afford to buy all they need at once, so when we gather that longer-term item again (4 months later), you can just pick up where you left off.
For example, maybe you can make a goal to buy 1 box (six #10 cans) of each assigned item each month (from LDS Catalog, for example). This would be easy to remember, and everything will just be shipped right to your door, already canned and ready to be put away. We continually rotate through the longer-term items, so eventually you'll get as much as you need.
I thought pears had to be "hot packed". Or is that peaches, or both?
When I was researching how to can pears I ran across that same issue. Many of the websites I visited said that pears could be cold packed (what I did) but the taste wasn't as good. However, that seemed like a lot of work (meaning I'm lazy) so I called and asked a member of my expert canning team (re: my mom) and she told me that she's always just cold packed pears. Well, that's what I always ate and it tasted fine so I went ahead and canned the easy way. But you could can using the hot pack method if you wanted to.
Where online did you find the dough enhancer?
I've never personally bought dough enhancer online, I always coerce one of my family members to buy it in Utah and mail it to me. Speaking of which, I need some more guys! Anna recommends Kitchen Kneads. I found the dough enhancer listed under food products.
Where do you buy your canned chicken? It's just so expensive in the stores, and so I rarely buy it!
I agree. I NEVER bought canned chicken until I started blogging here. Now I watch for it to go on sale and buy a couple each time. I also look for it at Sam's Club or other warehouses where I can get five cans for under $10. It is more expensive than I'd like to pay, but I also want the nutrition it would give us in an emergency. Keep in mind that you don't want to plan all your meals around meat because canned meat is expensive. I have planned the majority of our meals around beans because (1) they are inexpensive, (2) they are a great source of protein, (3) they are inexpensive.
Do you have a generator for in case the power goes out for a length of time? What do you recommend? What are some pros and cons?
Neither of us has a generator, which is one reason why we spend so much time teaching you how to cook without electricity! There are many kinds of generators, ranging in price and style. If you are looking to buy a generator, you need to take into account the size of your home and how much electricity you want/need to use in an emergency. Popular Mechanics has a good article here about different models of generators. Good luck!
I was looking at your 3-month menu and it referred to a "basics" page, but I couldn't find it.
The reason the "basics" page isn't available is because we're revamping our 3-month menu and shopping list to include breakfast, lunch, and dinner and all the basics in one document. Look for it soon!
If you email us with a question, we try to get back to you personally. However, sometimes we just don't get a chance to do that. If you have any questions, please email us (or re-email us!) and we'll address them in our next Q&A post! We'll also try to get back to you personally. Thanks!